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“Happy Valentine’s Day”

14 Feb

It is Valentine’s Day again and even though I once scoffed at the idea of another financially driven holiday that we have been brainwashed to believe we must partake in, the notion of such has grown on me. To have one day dedicated to love is smart. Especially since amidst the chaos, a lot of us forget how pivotal love is, why not set aside a day to encourage you to take time and remember?

I hope all of you have a Valentine’s Day filled with tons of love =) And here’s a little something to help with that!

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Relationship Obsession

17 Oct

Why does it seem like some people are obsessed with relationships? They seek advice about relationships and the decisions they make pertaining to developing said relationships they spend money on books and therapists to manage their relationships. There are songs, movies-in many ways a whole industry dedicated to relationships. And all the while people are getting criticized for being “too relationship focused”.

I’ve often heard the advice to just “get over it” after a tough break up and it has never ceased to be upsetting (even if I do eventually heed the advice). But isn’t it natural to be obsessed over something that is essential for survival? It has been proven that an infant can die if never receiving personal touch or contact with another source of life, so the innate programming to be “obsessed” over friendships, popularity, being in love, affection, dating, marriage and the like, should be a part of who we are. Not many people (if they are truly honest with themselves) want to live a life in complete solitude and isolation (even after a string of negative personal interactions). We all want to be loved, appreciated, validated and who can achieve that solo?

“Ex-Factor”

23 Aug

I know I fell short of your expectations. But as my mother always tells me, “when you put your expectations on someone else, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed.” I couldn’t give you what you wanted and although you are a great man it was as much your fault as it was mine.
You kept pulling for me to be more and different, like I wasn’t enough as I was. So I rebelled at first and then slowly started to withdraw in order to protect myself. I just couldn’t bring myself to give my best to someone who didn’t see the best in me.
Sure I wasn’t ready to embrace your world, but what about who I was? What I actually did possess versus all that I was missing. I needed your praise as much as your critical eye.
I do hope that you find love, but first you may want to look into what love truly is, and what it definitely is not. How being a responsible steward of it can lead you to great reward, but poor handling will only lead to loss. I’m sure you’ll get there, but I won’t be standing by you to witness it because in your absence I gave myself fully to love and where you lost, I truly gained…

“The Blame Game”

15 Aug
Jungle Fever

Image via Wikipedia

“You Black women have issues. That’s why I’m gonna start dating women from another race!”

Sounds ridiculous, right? Well I’ve actually heard that on a few occasions and each time my response is laughter followed by a barrage of questions (due to my naturally inquisitive nature).

Don’t get me wrong, I can understand the frustration. Us women feel it too at times, but the threat of dating outside of your race as a solution to your “problem” just seems ludicrous to me. Well first, because if certain members of my family hadn’t made the choice to date/marry outside of their race, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be short some family members and some of my friends wouldn’t exist. So the statement alone doesn’t present a threat to me. It also doesn’t upset me that these men want to date interracially, I am more upset at their immaturity. Boys blame their issues on others, not men. So essentially these guys are throwing their toys down and stomping off because they cannot get their way.  Instead of looking at the specific situation and individuals involved, and taking accountability for the role they played in their sour circumstance, they would rather play the blame game.

THAT’S THE ISSUE!

Successful relationships are made up of two mature adults. You can date anyone from any race and at the end of the day you would run into the same issue because the problem doesn’t lie with the women, it lies within you and possibly your choices (because it is a possibility that the “women” you are choosing may be the problem). Work on that first, and you’d probably increase your success rate.

if he pushes you he likes you…

1 Aug

Sometimes guys can be so harsh! I’ve had interactions with males that fall into the friends and lovers category that leave me thinking WTF? In 32 years I haven’t been able to grasp how someone who says they like you can also tease and lash out at you. What is there to gain from that except for the title and resulting discomfort of being emotionally unpredictable?
I mean, how is it that the move from cuddling to cussing happen so seamlessly? I’ve started off conversations with “good morning” that end in me being on the receiving end of a tirade that breaks down how selfish and stuck up I am! WTF? My girlfriends and I have exchanged countless stories of the guy who was super hot and then turned icy in a matter of minutes. Oh and what about the guy (who considers himself my friend) telling me that if he hadn’t “known me before, he wouldn’t be talking to me now”. What was I supposed to gain from that, that I should feel lucky to be in his company?! WTF?
These random (or perhaps not so random) interactions and responses just arouse unnecessary discontent creating a wedge between people who supposedly like each other. Shouldn’t we be building each other up instead? Showing love to one another because we feel that’s what they deserve-since we value the relationship and care about their feelings.
Or better yet, the guy who says “you can do what you want with your feelings” when you state that something he did or said hurt your feelings. The short guy who rags on you about wearing heels or cracks on you for wearing short skirts, when in fact, he met you that way. In the heat of an argument he “slips” and calls you a ho because you mistakenly shared too much about your past when you mistakenly took his word at face value when he said you could trust him. Even though he has even reaped the benefits of your so-called “ho-dom”.

Here’s the deal: Men and women are not all that different. Sure we are psychologically wired differently and are anatomically different, but we all want unconditional love and respect. We want to be valued and have our opinions validated. Most of us, don’t want to fight. We prefer peace. We also all have our baggage that has affected who we are as people, now and then rears its head in both positive and negative ways, but we are not from different planets (despite what the book says). We all deserve the reciprocation of giving and receiving regardless of how much of a woman or man that we exhibit or claim to be; Simply because we are people we deserve these things. In reality we could not exist without each other, so the hurt, humiliation and subsequent isolation that occurs is just as ridiculous as it is futile because face it, we need each other. So, please refrain from pushing unless of course you are encouraging me toward greatness because that is the only way that a push can be useful.

“Lovers and Friends”

24 Jul

One of my favorite books is Friends and Lovers which I read when I was 19, ironically with the man who would serve in those dual roles for me (although I had no idea at the time). I’ve gone through the hills and valleys of relationships over the years since him, and I realize one imperative factor in successful relationships is friendship. It’s the necessary ingredient for true love, selflessness-the foundation of respect.

It took me living, “loving” and discarding or being discarded while carelessly casting aside their feelings or wallowing in mine, to realize that friendship is what was missing-the contributor to the demise of another “love” gone by.

Love and friendship are not mutually exclusive (except, perhaps by links of DNA). One cannot exist without the other, especially in romantic relationships.

Friendship is what inspires the giving that drives the reciprocity which starts the fire that makes love grow. It makes you second guess your words and actions as to not intentionally cause harm. It aids you in loving who the person is and appreciating your differences, instead of trying to change them. It enables you to open up when you are broken and cling to the reasons you love them as opposed to searching for and giving attention to why you don’t. Friendship reinforces the fight to save the relationship when everything (and sometimes, everyone) is telling you to throw in the towel.

In my missteps, I realize I forgot the importance of friendship between me and the men I called myself “loving”. I was living in fast forward mode attempting to achieve greatness without the greatest component. I was attempting to paint a canvas without paint, create a song without music, write a love story without paper-I was setting myself up to fail. I know that now, and while developing a friendship takes time and patience, which at times seem to be in limited supply, I want the masterpiece. If friendship is essential for me to live out my love story, I am willing to put in the effort in order to gain the greatest reward.

Friends with Benefits

23 Jul

In light of the two movies released this year, “No Strings Attached” and “Friends With Benefits”, everyone has been forced, if not already entertaining, the possibility of whether engaging in such a relationship is plausible, for them.
Is it possible?
Sure for the noncommittal types who shy away from relationships due to fear, because who wants to willingly be hurt?
What are the risks?
You could possibly cheapen some interactions that have the potential to be deeper and of more value, while promoting others to a level of credibility that they don’t deserve.
Also the heart often ends up tangled in a mess that you couldn’t have prepared for even if you tried. Even if you claim no emotional attachment, you still remember their face, what they may have felt, smelled, sounded, or even tasted like. We can’t erase memories. You could potentially be filling up your memory bank with meaningless memories of people that aren’t even an active part of your life. This may not appear to be an issue at first, until you need or want the companionship and cannot reach out to the individuals who you’ve shared some of the most intimate parts of yourself with.
Okay, so are there any benefits?
Perhaps. Depending on you and the state of your “maturity”. I say this because I believe that monogamous, committed relationships between two actually require a level of maturity that most can only imagine possessing. So, if you’re not ready to be faithful and in some ways responsible and accountable for another person’s feelings, then maybe friends with benefits is the way to go.
Also as I’ve heard it phrased, maybe you just need a thorough cobweb dusting and don’t want to have to commit in order to indulge in the luxury of such.
Here’s the real deal though: the operative word in the arrangement is “FRIENDS” with said benefits. It seems like by even the way people discuss entertaining the idea, people are getting it twisted with a one night stand or “booty call”, and subsequently discard an imperative dynamic in the “arrangement”.
Friendship is rooted in mutual respect and love for a person. Think about who you call your friends. You wouldn’t knowingly hurt them or disregard their feelings to maintain your own. Would you use your friend for momentary satisfaction and then put them on the shelf until the need arose again? Probably not. So the definition of the relationship itself isn’t really set up to meet what your expectations of such a relationship can turn out to be.
So therein lies the rub (simply put, the catch 22). Friends with benefits is not the same as a one night stand. The potential risk and subsequent loss is in fact greater. You can cheapen a friendship by reducing them to means for physical gratification and risk losing a relationship of actual value. You must ask yourself: why would I pursue something cheap and of limited value when I deserve and may (even if it’s truly deep down) desire a relationship that is so much more?

“Let’s Not Play the Game”

9 Jul

Men, You need to start talking. In person. To us. Women.

Not just when you want some one on one action in between the sheets either. Or when you need help hashing out an issue at work or with a family member. Why? Because we are interested in what is going on in your heart. Not your mind. Your heart. We’re growing weary of this game playing of trying to read your nonverbal gestures as a means to figure it out. Sure, you have a lot to say. At times. Like when you feel like it. But what if that is not enough? What if you are not receiving what you want from us because you never really ask? What if the attitude and cold shoulder you are on the receiving end of is because you choose silence when the situation requires spoken sentiment?

We want to know how you feel, and while crying is not for the faint of heart, we crave the verbal expression of the emotion being stirred behind your ribs.

I’m speaking for generations and legions of women when I say that we don’t want to read your pursed lips and over-emphasized mandibles, implying clenched teeth that we see through the flesh right at your jaw line; as a method of understanding you, nor your hunched shoulders while you stare past us into space. While we do profess to be powerful, mind-reading is not one of our abilities. We really want to know how you feel about us even if it isn’t favorable and to leave all that to the imagination of a woman is actually creating an even bigger issue for you.

We speak because it is important to us that you hear the content of our hearts directly from us. It may surprise you, even vex you, but in the end, you know. There is no mystery; No veil of secrecy that shrouds our true desires. It is our gift to you. Because we love you that much. Because we feel you deserve the truth. Because we would love for you to return the favor.

Love’s Greatest Killer

8 Jul
love pencil

Image by yanni via Flickr

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”— Anaïs Nin
 
Anais Nin was right. For some time fear has affected my ability to love, the way I love, who I love, sometimes even how long I love them (if the “love” was ever really there to begin with). I’ve been able to acknowledge this personal truth for some time and have analyzed the concept to death with some resolve. I have been able to attribute it (to some degree) to my discomfort with the societal paradigms that dictate how my life should be lived, rarely taking into account who I truly am. I don’t think I am alone in this place, but I do find myself isolated at times when I ask the questions that challenge the status quo.
What I have chosen to do in order to address this issue is to take time and understand myself, what I need and value. What does love look and feel like to me? This is imperative because sometimes the world seems like it is working overtime to cheapen what love truly is and reduce it to a symbol that was recovered from a mine, or roses that were plucked to die, or sex which can be a manifestation of love, but in modern times rarely is discussed as such. They reduce love to a stream of actions and words and less of a way of being which has succeeded in confusing people (sometimes I am one of them).
 Women are running around believing that a man will buy them a house if they love them or a ring resembling a small ice-cube, while men are convincing themselves that because she doesn’t offer to give massages or cook for him or give him sex on a regular, she doesn’t love him. To me, love is very personal. So much so that it cannot be defined by some global standard of tokens, talismans, and superficial expressions. Love is a body of emotions that shapes and defines me, so who I open myself up to is important. Not just what they represent or the lifestyle they can afford me, but who they are inside. Hence the anxiety. We are anxious because we have challenges being true to our own personal definitions of love. Perhaps we don’t know ourselves enough to uncover this personal definition, or maybe we know, and are too afraid of judgement to personify that truth because it is in opposition to what we have been socialized to believe.
What I know is that I am on the one who has to walk the steps of this woman I have become, and I have to live out the repercussions of the decisions that I make, so it seem only wise to be truly responsible and accountable for the life that I live as well as the love I give and receive. Doing so, will enable me to be true to myself which in many cases will diminish the fear overtime because true fear should come in living a life based on other’s wishes, and not my own.  
 

Independent Woman

3 Jul

I’ve often been accused of being “too independent”.   I find that the term often gets hurled if a woman doesn’t fulfill a man’s expectations or asserts her preference, or expertise. That implication is never said in a positive way and most often is followed by some qualifier/explanation as to why “women” are single, or deemed un-loveable. It is viewed as an inhibitor to male/female relationships as opposed to a contributor to our success. I find myself wondering: Can someone really be “too” independent? I mean is independence really something that can exist in excess?

According to the Oxford Dictionary/Thesaurus: The definition (and synonyms) of independent is: Not ruled or controlled by another. Not relying on another; not connected (syn: autonomy, self-determination, freedom, self-sufficiency).

The true definition of independence in and of itself is not corrupt. However, the use of the term as an insult is. I’m proud to be independent because being so enables me to make decisions for myself that are necessary for my development and survival. I appreciate my ability to be a free-thinker and not base my choices on those of others, making me uneasily influenced. Being independent can at times set you apart from a crowd of followers. What intrigues me is the irony of being labeled an independent woman.

Why would a man want a woman who can be controlled? Wouldn’t that make her easy to be controlled by others outside of him?

I find that those who are attracted (not just in the physical sense) to me, are, because I defy expectations and labels in a myriad of ways. I don’t believe that I have to be any one way or do any specific things because of who people think I am and what they believe I should do. 

 The truth is, being independent got me to and through college. I valued my intellect when others believed I should value (and therefore focus on) my beauty. I am not afraid to assert my opinion which in many cases can be educational and sometimes even show you a shortcut to avoid traffic. Being independent has contributed to this music loving, travel channel and basketball watching (sometimes even shooting), stiletto and Nike wearing, self-proclaimed nerd who is an artist that also reads and cooks, all while balancing beauty and intellect. I am all those things because they are important to me. I don’t think any of these elements are in excess.

Being that independent woman does not mean that I do not want or need a man in my life. I believe that women and men need each other regardless of how independent we are because we will never truly understand what it means to be in each other’s skin (just based on science alone), and we need to guide each other through the differences as a means to better understanding and appreciation.

If we look at the true meaning of independence and its value, I ask, who wouldn’t want to possess that? If independence is a means to sustain and is imperative for survival, why should being so be viewed as an obstruction to healthy relationships?